One of the presentations at the Lean Accounting Summit was titled "Lean by the Numbers", and had the following description:
"Learn about the role of the Finance organization in removing transformational barriers. Understand what Enterprise Lean means to these pillars of their respective industries and how they are using technology to accelerate business processes and keep their managements focused on the business issues. What have been their barriers and enablers to the flow of information?"
Sounded interesting; I’m always interested in hearing how real companies have overcome lean implementation roadblocks. The barriers associated with the accounting/financial side can be especially formidable.
I knew I was in trouble when I walked into the room to find a large Oracle logo being projected on the screen. I know there are some situations where complex business software is important, but regular readers also know that I feel that software is commonly misused and often creates unnecessary complexity. I was still getting used to wearing my conference badge holder with an Oracle logo on it.
The first presenter was from… Oracle. He described the wonders of business enterprise software… how it could cost products down to the micropenny, provide glitzy configurable dashboards, and manage every aspect of the shop floor. He then introduced presenters from a couple companies that had been implementing lean and specifically lean accounting.
A financial manager from Parker Hannifin, which has been working hard to implement lean at many facilities, was up next. He described how they had turned off the shop floor control modules of their ERP systems by implementing visual pull methods, and how in true lean accounting fashion they use value stream costing instead of product costing.
Viking Range was up next, where one of their financial managers described how they had also turned off the shop floor control modules of their ERP system by implementing visual pull methods, and also now focus on value stream costing instead of product costing.
The Oracle presenter then came back for a wrap-up, reiterating how their software could very efficiently calculate product costs and control every aspect of the shop floor. I guess he somehow missed all the other presentations on what lean and lean accounting is all about. No wonder about half the room got up and left.
It’s like a sandwich with overly-processed white bread surrounding some nice veggies and turkey. We know where the real nutritional value is.